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Argentina’s Scaloni tells fans to enjoy World Cup victory

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

Argentina coach Lionel Scaloni, who masterminded the South Americans’ penalty shoot-out victory over France in Sunday’s World Cup final, called on his compatriots to enjoy the glory.

“It hasn’t yet sunk in but this is a moment to enjoy, especially the people,” Scaloni told the official World Cup media channel in Doha.

“We who live by this have had ups and downs, we’re used to these things happening to us, taking blows,” he added after the remarkable topsy turvy final in the Lusail stadium.

Argentina led 2-0 at half-time and 3-2 with minutes left in extra-time after a Lionel Messi brace and Angel Di Maria’s goal that finished off a sublime one-touch team move.

But a Kylian Mbappe hat-trick kept France in the fight and took the match to a dramatic shootout.

Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez’s save from Kingsley Coman and Gonzalo Montiel’s successful strike gave Argentina their third World Cup victory and first since the late great Diego Maradona inspired them to glory in 1986.

“This is what happened today, they (France) reacted and that’s huge credit to them,” said Scaloni, 44, who also guided Argentina to Copa America victory last year, thus ending a 28-year wait for a major trophy.

“Above all, it is an incredible enjoyment to be at the top, as we are, it’s something unique.”

Scaloni paid tribute to his parents saying: “They gave me a way of understanding, of never giving up, and of never going against anyone else, but to always go forwards. Today it paid off!”

He concluded: “I was lucky to be here and I’m thankful to everyone.”

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